KOTA BELUD (June 23): The Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities (MPIC) has opened a new cocoa planting area on 300 hectares of land in Sabah under the New Crops (TB) Cocoa Production Stimulus (RPKH) programme 2022.
Its Deputy Minister Datuk Willie Anak Mongin said the programme, among others, would use the services of contractors to open and clear the land.
"This initiative will ease the financial and physical burden of land-clearing that otherwise have to be borne by the smallholders," he said in a statement on Thursday (June 23).
Earlier, Willie officiated the #KeluargaMalaysia 2022 Agrikomoditi Tour programme involving participants of the RPKH TB 2022 programme in Kampung Kiau Taburi near here.
A total of 30 farmers from the village attended the meeting held by the Malaysian Cocoa Board (LKM).
Willie said the RPHK TB 2022 programme covered new planting projects; mini construction cocoa-drying projects; as well as technology transfer and expansion activities, among others.
He said most of the cocoa growers in the Kiau zone worked as tourist guides on Mount Kinabalu.
According to him, the strategic location of the cocoa plantation in the district is also seen to be able to boost the area as a tourist centre with high potential.
"Therefore, future planning for the development of the cocoa industry in the Kiau zone will also be centred on agro-tourism in line with the development of the homestay and recreation industry in this area," he said.
LKM will also develop 10 hectares of land for new cocoa cultivation in the Kiau zone which will be integrated with the cultivation of avocado as the crop of choice for growers, he said.